Published by LawTechie - July 12, 2011 - LawTechie

Internet Lawyer NYHaving previously reported on Google’s argument that WiFi communications are akin to radio transmissions — and therefore public — under the Wiretap Act, we now find that Google lost that argument and is appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Mediapost reports:

[The District Court] rejected Google’s argument that its activities were lawful because the transmissions it intercepted were not password-protected.

Now, in a rare move, Google is attempting to appeal Ware’s ruling before the case proceeds any further. The company argues that the wiretap law, which dates to 1986 — well before the era of WiFi networks — needs to be interpreted by an appellate court.

Where Google’s position is that non-password-protected transmissions (in this case WiFi transmissions) do not have the requisite expectation of privacy to be protected under the Wiretap Act, consumers are firing back that “the WiFi networks were not publicly accessible, in part because interpreting them requires special software.” The 9th Cir’s decision (and perhaps an appeal to the Supreme Court) will ultimately dictate policy on WiFi interception.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.


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